Rumors, claims, and allegations about satanic cult crimes -- The evolution of the satanic cult legend -- The social dynamics of a rumor-panic -- Rumor-panics across the country -- Satanic cult "survivor" stories -- Satanism and alleged threats to children -- Satanism and teenage crime -- Searching for satanism in schools, books, music, and games -- The moral crisis in American society -- The search for scapegoat deviants -- The rhetoric of the moral crusade against satanism -- The organization of the moral crusade -- The politics of the moral crusade -- The medieval origins of modern demonology -- Conclusions: The social construction of imaginary deviance
Again and again we are told - by journalists, police, and fundamentalists - that there exists a secret network of criminal fanatics, worshippers of Satan, who are responsible for kidnapping, human sacrifice, sexual abuse and torture of children, drug-dealing, mutilation of animals, desecration of churches and cemeteries, pornography, heavy metal lyrics, and cannibalism. This popular tale is almost entirely without foundation, but the legend continues to gather momentum, in the teeth of evidence and good sense. Networks of 'child advocates', credulous or self-serving social workers, instant-expert police officers, and unscrupulous ministers of religion help to spread the panic, along with fabricated survivors' memoirs passed off as true accounts, and irresponsible broadcast 'investigations'. A classic witch-hunt, comparable to those of medieval Europe, is under way. Innocent victims are smeared and railroaded
Satanic Panic uncovers the truth behind the satanic cult hysteria, and exposes the roots of this malignant mythology, showing in detail how unsubstantiated rumor becomes transformed into publicly-accepted 'fact'